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Connacht Tribune

Putting food on menu for tourists



TG4’s weather girl Cáitlín Nic Aoidh got an early sample of the delights on offer at TouRRoir in Galway later this month from chef JP McMahon and Margaret Jeffares of Good Food Ireland. Photo: Andrew Downes, xposure.

Lifestyle – A global forum in NUI Galway at the end of this month, which will look at the links between food, tourism and culture, has attracted leading figures from across the world to share their knowledge on how the sectors complement each other.  Judy Murphy got the lowdown.

“We do these things well because it’s in our nature,” says Margaret Jeffares of Ireland’s approach to hospitality and culture.

Putting a formal structure on what comes naturally in order to drive sustainable economic growth, is the theme of a global forum on food, tourism and culture that will be held in NUI Galway on Tuesday, April 24.

TouRRoir is the brainchild of Margaret Jeffares, the founder of Good Food Ireland, and participants will include global tourism and marketing experts as well as some of the world’s top chefs and food producers.

There will also be a strong local involvement from people in the arts, culture and hospitality sectors in Ireland and Galway.

TouRRoir (the name is a combination of tourism and terroir) will explore how new links can be forged between tourism, culture and food to benefit communities and individuals, Margaret explains.

Tourism and agriculture are two of Ireland’s biggest indigenous sectors, she remarks, while we also have an international reputation as an artistic nation, with Galway being at the centre of this. TouRRoir is being held in Galway to mark the area’s designation as European Region of Gastronomy 2018 and in acknowledgement of Galway’s status as European Capital of Culture 2020.

The inaugural event will also honour people who have spearheaded links between food, culture and tourism, nationally and internationally.

They include Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe as well as Peruvian food ambassador and chef Gastón Acurio, who has been to the forefront of promoting Peruvian cuisine through his restaurant Astrid y Gastón.

Clarewoman Margaret Jeffares has been a ground-breaker in developing food and tourism in Ireland for more than a decade.

Twelve years ago, having observed so many of Ireland’s specialist food producers working individually to promote their goods, she decided to establish Good Food Ireland to co-ordinate these efforts.

From a farming background she had spent two decades working in tourism marketing and development and she saw a gap in the market.

Good Food Ireland was an umbrella brand that pioneered the link between Irish food and tourism, with the aim of growing Ireland as a world-class food destination and supporting sustainable food tourism.

All members had to be committed to using Irish food and drink and supporting Irish farmers, food producers and fishermen. That remains the case. Meanwhile for visitors and locals who love food, dealing with members of Good Food Ireland promises an authentic and enjoyable food experience. These members include hotels, restaurants and producers – here in Galway, Renvyle House and the Michelin-starred Aniar as well as Leahy Beekeeping are members.

As Good Food Ireland evolved, Margaret’s vision expanded and she realised that culture was also a vital part of the tourist experience, especially in Ireland.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.




Connacht Tribune

Gardaí in Galway operating with fewer patrol cars



Five large Garda stations in County Galway are operating with fewer Garda vehicles now than two years ago – leading to a call for the local fleet to be restored to 2020 levels.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has confirmed to Galway West TD Noel Grealish that the Garda fleet in the Galway Garda Division stands at 116 as of October of this year.

That’s greater than any of the years from 2012 to 2019, but it represents a reduction on the Garda fleet when compared with 2020 and 2021 figures.

Galway Gardaí had a dozen fewer vehicles this year, compared with 2020. There are 13 fewer patrol cars, down from 96 to 83; there was no change in the number of vans and motorcycles, and the division acquired one extra 4×4.

Garda stations in Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Tuam, Clifden and Salthill have all lost patrol cars in the past 24 months, according to the official figures.

Independent Deputy Grealish has demanded a restoration of the Garda fleet in Galway to 2020 levels.

“Gardaí have a demanding enough job to do, but it makes that important work even more difficult if they are not allocated the proper resources,” Deputy Grealish said.

“A reduction of twelve vehicles in less than two years across the Galway Division, down from 128 at the end of 2020 to 116 in October this year, is concerning.

“I have asked the Minister for Justice to explain why this has happened, that the number of vehicles in the Galway Division has fallen by ten per cent, when nationally the total fleet actually increased by 6%. I am demanding that they at the very least be restored to their 2020 levels,” he said.

Deputy Grealish pointed out that almost all areas of the county had suffered a reduction in Garda vehicles since the beginning of last year.  Ballinasloe currently has six vehicles, a reduction of two since the end of 2020; Clifden also has six, down one; Loughrea was down three to eleven; Salthill was down three to ten; the biggest reduction in Garda vehicles was in the Tuam area down five to twelve.

Galway City’s fleet increased by two vehicles, for a total of 71.

Minister McEntee said that the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was responsible for the administration and management of An Garda Síochána, including the purchase, allocation, and effective and efficient use of Garda vehicles.

“As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review to ensure their optimum use in light of identified operational needs and emerging crime trends,” she added.

Galway City Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) last month complained that the number of vehicles available to Gardaí in Salthill and Knocknacarra was insufficient.

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Connacht Tribune

Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team



Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.

The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.

Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.

Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.

“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.

It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.

“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”

She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.

“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.

There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.

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Connacht Tribune

Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78



Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.

Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968

As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.

From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.

When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.

Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.

A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.

Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later

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